Rear derailleur won't shift down

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Rear derailleur won't shift down

Postby jeff » Mon May 11, 2009 10:53 am

Over the past 2 rides I've noticed that my rear derailleur (SRAM X-9) is having problems shifting down. Actually the problem began midway through a 50-mile ride in the mountains and has gradually gotten worse. Sometimes it works fine but usually it just hangs when I try to down shift.

I'm thinking it could be one of two things:

1. Crud in the cable housing. I noticed there is slack in the cable after I click the shifter down so maybe the cable is getting caught up somewhere?

2. Spring tension in the derailleur is off somehow? If I bunny hop sometimes that gets the derailleur unstuck but it's strange given that a derailleur should naturally want to downshift when you remove cable tension...

Shifting up is no problem - smooth and crisp every time. I'm planning on doing a thorough once-over before the Sumter Metric Century this weekend but if anyone has any other ideas I'd love to hear them.
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Postby slap8up » Mon May 11, 2009 12:30 pm

I would try a through cleaning by soaking the derailleur in solvent (kerosene, degreaser, etc..) and giving the whole thing a thorough scrub down, rinse in a mild detergent (soapy water) followed by clean water, and then blow dry it with an air compressor. When that's done give it a little dry silicone lube.Make sure you get all the dirt and grit out of the return spring and chain tensioner spring housings. If that doesn't work the return spring is probably loosing its temper and getting weak in which case it's time for a new derailleur. But definitely check the cable too as well :mrgreen:
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Postby jeff » Mon May 11, 2009 12:47 pm

Good tips. I should mention that the bike and components are brand new (January) so there really hasn't been a lot of time for things to get gunked up yet. Still, I have been riding in wet conditions on forest roads lately so ya never know.
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Postby element22 » Mon May 11, 2009 1:25 pm

I would check to see if the housing is binding or there is some kind of crud in there. Usually there is very little problem with X-9 rear derailleurs however a good cleaning followed by a bit of lubrication on the pivot points (8 of them) with a light only will help. If its an open style cable housing lube the cable with a few drops of oil, or if you have Shimano's special grease that will work as well. In fact some Shimano cable housing come with it pre-installed.

Ultimately to get rid of that kind of problem is to get a high quality cable housing kit like Gore's ride on which is totally sealed and very low friction.
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Postby NismoFreak69 » Mon May 11, 2009 3:38 pm

pull your cables off and apart and inspect them i just had that problem 3 days ago went to the lbs and i had almost snapped cable and i had your exact same symptoms other then that idk
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Postby slap8up » Mon May 11, 2009 7:24 pm

trek7k wrote:Good tips. I should mention that the bike and components are brand new (January) so there really hasn't been a lot of time for things to get gunked up yet. Still, I have been riding in wet conditions on forest roads lately so ya never know.

You never know. It could just be a manufacturing defect as well.
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Postby jeff » Sun May 17, 2009 12:15 pm

After re-cabling and fiddling with the derailleur myself I ended up taking it to the LBS to get some help.

The mechanic said the problem had something to do with the derailleur action. After lubing the pivot points and working the derailleur he was able to get it to shift down more reliably but still not consistently. His recommendation: get a new derailleur.

I was kinda bummed to hear that since my SRAM X-9 set-up is less than 4 months old but then I bent the crap out of the thing during a race yesterday so I don't really have a choice now :) Anyone else have problems with X-9s shifting down? I'm thinking I may want to go XT with my replacement...
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Postby Devin_P » Sun May 17, 2009 12:52 pm

Can't speak for the X-9 but I'll say that my XT Shadow derailleur has been great...
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Postby maddslacker » Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:07 am

The only issue I have seen with the X-9 is it snapping completely off. This happened on a recent group trip to Moab, to two different X-9's, both on Slickrock Trail.

In both cases, the mechanics at Poison Spider LBS recommended the X-7 as a replacement.
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Postby jeff » Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:33 am

Wow, your derailleur snapped off completely? My bike is still in the shop but it looks like my derailleur hanger took the brunt of the impact and the X-9 is ok. Heck of a lot cheaper to replace a derailleur hanger than a derailleur - guess that's the point.
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Postby maddslacker » Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:38 am

Not mine, I run an XTR, two other guys in the group, and neither was from impact, but rather from torque, probably forced shifting but I can't say for sure.

I just saw the end result when they finally made it out to the trailhead, one with a ghetto singlespeed (he carries a multi-tool with a chainbreaker) and one walking.
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Postby maddslacker » Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:43 am

That's my thought too. But still, to snap the body completely off? That's just crap IMO.

On a related note, I recently got my first rapid rise rear derailleur, and so far I really like it. It really helps with the forced downshift issue, as in, you can't do it...
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Postby element22 » Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:14 am

In all the crap and crud that I have been running through including rock gardens drops falls and stuff I can't think of a time that I killed a derailleur..I did snap more than one hanger but as far as the derailleur nope..I have had everything from deore all the way to X.0 and XTR..Both work great...I just like Sram shifters better...But as I said before..Cables and the way they are routed are the big thing for me.
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Postby bonkedagain » Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:43 pm

Mongoose wrote:I was totally amazed with the action of this new device.
I remember those from when I was a kid (we're talking 1960s here...). I always thought they were cool. I just took a look and yeah, the same company I remember from years ago is still around: Sturmey Archer. Maybe your buddy was riding one of those. Has anybody tried them for MTB? I wonder if they can take the punishment of off-road riding.
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Postby Xerien » Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:34 pm

I was following some link or other from this site yesterday and tripped over (several links later) this nifty 14 speed internal geared hub.

Imagine, no derailleurs! 14 gears out of a single chainring/cog. But this beast isn't cheap.

Here's a link to the wiki article.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rohloff_Speedhub
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